Team GB Olympians have won medals in Rio, and it’s equally exciting to learn that GB’s sheep shearers are outstanding in their fields and setting equally high standards at competition level.
Two new British records were achieved last week by two Welsh sheep shearers who set the Nine Hour Two Stand British Lamb Shearing Record at Ruthin in Wales.
Shearers Gareth Daniel and Ian Jones achieved this by shearing a combined total of 1,457 lambs – a record that has never before been attempted in the UK. Gareth Daniel also set a new Nine Hour British Lamb Shearing Record with his tally of 781 lambs beating the previous tally of 537. The event, actively supported by the British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB) took place on Friday 19th August at Llysfasi Agricultural College, in the Welsh town of Ruthin, in Denbighshire.
Ian and Gareth’s aim was to set a new British record, this was a huge personal milestone and achievement for both shearers. Although they had no idea as to how many lambs they would shear, they were delighted with their total of 1,457.
Gareth aged 33 from Penegoes, near Machynlleth, took up shearing aged 19 as a means of getting to New Zealand. Today, he is a beef and sheep farmer and contract shearer. His shearing partner, fellow farmer 36 year-old Ian Jones, is from Hundred House near Builth Wells. He manages a flock of predominantly Beulah Speckled Face sheep and finishes store calves.
Speaking afterwards Gareth said: “We owe our success on the day to the many helpers from across the shearing industry who brought the lambs forward, packed the wool and provided help and support in the build up to the day. Setting a record like this is a real team effort.”
“We owe our success on the day to the many helpers from across the shearing industry who brought the lambs forward, packed the wool and provided help and support in the build up to the day. Setting a record like this is a real team effort.”Gareth Daniel
Both Ian and Gareth are effectively trained athletes and face the very same physical and mental challenges that the athletes in Rio have been facing. All shearing records are attempted after months of hard training and preparation, both in the gym to build and maintain fitness and on the shearing circuit.
On hearing they had reached their goal Ian said: “A day’s shearing like this is the physical equivalent of running three marathons, so we were both fully aware that, stamina, mental and physical strength and adrenalin would all be required to achieve our goal.”
During the last three weeks shearing in the UK has seen Matt Smith and Ivan Scott breaking World Records with Gareth and Ian setting this new British record. These records have created excitement, passion and pride within the sheep industry that can be compared with the Olympic Games in Rio.
Ian Buchanan, BWMB Chairman, adds: “Competitions helps take us to the next level, transmitting enthusiasm to the next generation. Gareth and Ian have both attended BWMB’s shearing courses and we are very proud of their achievements. They are, without doubt, ambassadors for the industry and role models for young shearers just starting their shearing careers.”
The BWMB regularly supports competitions and organises shearing training throughout the UK, providing both new and established shearers with skills and techniques passed on from expert instructors. More than 1,000 shearers each year benefit from its courses.
North Wales BWMB Board Member Bedwyr Jones, who was also present to witness the occasion and along with other family members, provided a large number of lambs for the record adds: “Wales is one of the great sheep nations within the UK and I’m delighted the records have been set here in Ruthin. British wool is sought after around the world and a high profile event such as this is an excellent way of further raising the profile of the wool industry.”
North Wales’s only children’s hospice Ty Gobaith was supported during the record attempt with Eluned Yaxley saying: “The support from Gareth and Ian means that we can continue to be here for children who are affected by conditions so serious that they’re not expected to live longer than early adulthood. We’re here to help them enjoy the best possible quality of life and make the most of every moment.
“We’re here for their parents and families too, who can often find it hard to cope, both emotionally and practically. We’re here throughout the lifetime of their child - and often well beyond - with specialist nursing care, counselling support, empathy and understanding. Our dedicated teams work at Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith, in the family’s own home and within local communities.”
Gareth and Ian would like to thank the following for their kind sponsorship and support of their record attempt BWMB, Lister Shearing, HCC, Agrimin, Oink Oink, Cig Maethlon, Agricamera, Ifor Williams Trailers, Milfeddygon Dolgellau, For Farmers, Castell Howell, Kiwi Kit, Dei Foulkes, L E Jones Haulier Limited and Coleg Cambria.
So with the Olympic flame about to be extinguished in Brazil, it’s good to see that an international torch has been picked up in the United Kingdom, which sets the standard and a challenge to the rest of the world! It’s difficult to resist the claim that this summer, for GB, it really has been shear magic.